*Recently Zabs interviewed her friend Shannon, wife of Kutless lead singer Jon Micah.

When you married Jon Micah did you have any idea that your life would look like it does now? Could you have pictured life on the road?
We had dated for 6 years before we got married and we just happened to get engaged the same month that the band was offered a record contract. Up until then Jon Micah was on a full ride soccer scholarship going for his business degree so this came as quite a surprise, during that season Jon Micah put school on hold, we got married and left for tour 2 days after our honeymoon, I really did not have time to prepare or even consider what life would be like, yet looking back I can definitely see the Lord’s hand directing this path and preparing us for what was to come.

What does a typical day on the road look like for you and your family?
Well my two boys, Caleb and Jon Micah have very unusual sleeping schedules on the road, they both go to bed very late, Caleb normally around 3am and Jon Micah 5 or 6am and sleep till about 3pm the next day. I usually am up around 11am or noon to get some work done, go for a run and hope for a girls shower room at the venue πŸ˜‰ In the morning for my boys (3pm) it’s very slow going unless Jon Micah has sound check or an interview. Caleb and I usually watch some Playhouse Disney, eat some breakfast bars and eventually make it inside the venue for dinner or sound check. Then we scope out the venue to see if there are any great places to play with Caleb. Caleb does his best to make it to the drums each day, but it depends on how far the crew is with set up and when the doors open, if we can get him on the drums, then he is entertained for quite a while and he has even learned to keep a beat. Today he actually got a chance to ride up on “Duncan’s (Newsboys) drums.”. They lifted him up and rotated him and Caleb had a blast.

Usually the show starts around 7pm and he can watch most of it. My biggest battle is usually keeping him off the stage, he doesn’t understand why he can sound check with Daddy and the guys but not go on stage during the show. He wears these youth hunting headphones at every show and will not go without them because it is “too loud”. We started him with these when he was about 9 mos and it’s worked very well. After the show he heads out to the signing table with Daddy and sits on Jon Micah’s lap to sign autographs. We then hit the showers, eat some bus food (late night dinner, usually pizza or wraps) and try to wind down with a movie and some popcorn while the bus heads to the next show.Then we head to our bunks to sleep. Our family is usually the last ones to bed but it works great because it gives us some family time which is very precious on a bus with 9 other people.

I imagine having a baby on the road presented it’s own unique challenges. Can you tell us a story or describe a challenge or two and how you handled it?
There are so many I don’t even know where to begin. Caleb’s first show was 4 weeks old, I took him down to Pasadena Rose Bowl for the Billy Graham Crusade. It was my very first flight with a new baby and the man sitting next to me lectured me on why my baby should not have pacifier. That was my first of many very bad flight experiences. We took him on his first tour at 4mos old. He has grown up on the bus with the band and considers all of the guys his uncles. I would have to say the first challenge I remember was trying to keep a 4 month old from waking everyone else up in the middle of the night when he was hungry. Caleb had his own bottom bunk and I would sleep just across from him with the curtain open all night and one eye open listening for his cry. We had crew on our bus that needed to be unloading the trailer at 9am and they were not stoked about being woken up multiple times by a baby. Even if I would take Caleb in the back or front lounge and he was crying it would wake everyone up. It was very stressful trying to keep a baby and 9 men happy in a 45ft tube. Needless to say I did not get much sleep that first tour πŸ™‚

On the flip side, it’s very hard to keep 9 other people to be quiet on the bus while your baby is napping. The other challenge I specifically remember was when Caleb was about 9 mos old, I had laid him down in his bunk for bed and about 10 mins later he was screaming, he ended up not sleeping that night unless I held him upright so I sat on the couch all night holding him. We were in Michigan in the middle of winter and sitting on the couch you get a draft from the windows on the bus. I was so cold and tired and trying to keep Caleb warm and upright it was pretty scary because I did not know what was wrong with him. I did not know if I would be able to get to a Dr. the next day, I was a new mom with new challenges in an unknown world of touring with a baby and was very scared. I just spent that long night on the couch praying that God would give me the strength to make it through that night keeping Caleb comfortable and that we would be able to find a Dr. the next day. The next morning I was able to load Caleb and myself into a kind strangers car that the promoter had arranged and had the runner drive us to a local clinic. Caleb had a double ear infection which explained everything! I have so many stories of challenges and I will spare you all the details but the only way I have made it through is by knowing and remembering that God has called our family to this ministry and Satan is going to do anything he can to derail me. I have determined by God’s grace that he will not win. God has called me to this place therefore he will provide me with the strength and grace for the season I am in.

How do you decide what tours you and Caleb will go on and which you won’t?
Caleb and I have been on every tour, we have a family rule that we do not go any longer than 2 weeks without being together and we have stuck to the commitment. In the summer Kutless will do spot dates or fly dates where they fly 3-4 days in a row playing shows all over the country. They don’t get any sleep during that time and then they come home for 3-4 days between these shows. Any mom would understand why I don’t do those runs πŸ™‚

What are some of the most kid-friendly cities, venues have you been in?
I would have to say the churches that have great Kids wings, with lots of toys and play equipment. Some don’t allow us to use them due to insurance reasons, others have been very welcoming.

Is it more challenging for you when Jon Micah is in the studio or away on the road? Or are neither hard for you?
Both are hard but I am with him most of the time. Previously Kutless has recorded all of their records in Seattle and on the last record we lived in a hotel room for 6 weeks. Caleb was about 1yr old and it was very difficult and lonely. I would go to the studio often just to be around people. This winter (07) is the first time they are recording in Portland, so we have the next 4 months at home, the longest amount of time straight we have ever had at home. Needless to say I am stoked! The hard touring season for me is Summer when Jon Micah is in and out of town so much that there is no rhyme or reason to our lives. When he is gone I can have a consistent schedule for Caleb but I am on my own 24/7. When Jon Micah comes home everything changes. I go from being a single mom and having every responsibility that comes with a family and home- to being a wife again and this changes every 3 or 4 days. It’s a very emotional roller coaster.

What were some of the biggest challenges you guys faced as Kutless was starting out?
I would say criticism and finances. The very first tour Kutless ever did was with the Supertones. It started 2 days after our honeymoon and we both knew we needed to stay together, yet we were told that there were “no wives allowed”. We faced this challenge by requesting money instead of wedding gifts and used the $ to rent a car for the tour. We showed up at Bus call the first night with our rental car. As the newbies on the scene I am sure this was quite a site to the veteran bands, but they just laughed and told us I would never make it. Well I proved them wrong! I followed the bus pretty much every night that tour. Jon Micah would often drive and then hop on the bus the next morning to sleep. It was very very hard but we had so much fun together driving on those long nights. We spent the first 6 weeks of our marriage getting to know each other so well, it was probably the best investment we could have ever made into our marriage. We finished the tour in our rental car!

The other challenge we faced would be finances. The band made absolutely no money the first year and a half of touring and we got to a point that we could only eat if the restaurant took credit cards. We know the Lord promises to provide and we tithed 10% of every cent we made, yet we could not afford to eat. It was a very challenging season for our faith, yet we learned that the Lord provides in mysterious ways, not in ways that we would hope or think, but he did provide for us, and we never went hungry.

What role does your church play in your life? Little or a lot? Do you stay in touch with them while on the road?
Our home church plays a huge role in our life! From the beginning, the leadership felt that Kutless was a “ministry” of the church and needed the support and prayer covering of the church. Every tour, a pastor will fly out once or twice to spend 3-4 days with us just pouring into our lives, doing bible studies, meeting with the guys one on one and making sure everyone is doing well. They have bailed us out of a few interesting situations and we know that we can call them anytime day or night when we need them. I personally believe that Kutless is where they are today because of the church and the prayer covering we have.

How do you handle being away from your church while on the road, do you have a tour pastor or anything like that who is able to speak into your lives?
I personally listen to two different podcasts everyday while I run, our home church teachings and Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill in Seattle.

Any other stories you would want to show or words you would like to say that don’t fit the questions above?
When Caleb was about 6 mos. old I had not been doing very well, I had post-partum depression and was really struggling with the craziness of our life and being a new mom. Caleb was a big surprise for us and I mentally did not know how to prepare and was not very excited about being a mom. I got to a point where I told Jon Micah I needed help with Caleb when were home alone and – Jon Micah being in and out so much and getting ready for tour. At the same time his parents had been praying about the next season in their lives and the Lord confirmed to them that their role was to support us and our ministry in whatever form or fashion we needed. They have lived in Southern Oregon and Abner (Jon Micah’s Father) has been a pastor at Applegate Christian Fellowship for 20+ years, Jon Micah went out on a limb and asked them to move to Portland to help us. To our surprise they said yes, they sold their home in Jacksonville that Jon Micah and grown up in, and bought a house in town in Southern Oregon and they purchased a Condo just minutes from where we ended up purchasing our home and they split their time between Portland, when we are home, and their home in Southern Oregon.

Abner’s job is now to support Fellowship churches that were planted via Applegate, so they spend a lot of time traveling and Portland is a great base for them. It has been a great situation for both us and Jon Micah’s parents. They are there to support us and provide help anytime we need it, whether it’s packing and preparing the house for tour or just going on a date, getting to the gym, or taking & picking us up from the airport, they help in anyway we need. They have been the biggest blessing I could have ever asked for and have allowed me to accomplish everything that the Lord puts in front of me. I don’t know where I would be today without their help.

I wanted to share this story because I know there are other wives and moms like me that do not want to ask for help. I have always been the person that can handle it all, yet I was in a season that I could not navigate alone, I had to humbly tell my husband that I needed help (he had been telling me that for months, but I had to admit to it πŸ™‚ ) Being a band wife and mom is like navigating a dark tunnel just hoping you’ll see the light soon. There is no guidebook, and you can not do it alone! Pray that the Lord will bring the right friends and family along side of you to support you, pray for you, and help you when you need it the most.


To learn more about Kutless or listen to some of their music visit www.kutless.com or www.myspace.com/kutless.